All By Myself by Eric Carmen.
The sun might be shining brightly today but grim headlines, insurrectionist idiots clamoring in the streets with guns and Confederate flags demanding the right to infect anyone, and dim prospects that shelter-in-place orders will be lifted here any time soon have me wallowing in self-pity. The perfect song for this particular funk is All By Myself, a soft-rock power ballad by Eric Carmen that was perfect for a new 1970’s FM radio format aimed directly to the hearts of a mostly female audience who craved songs they could “play at work.”
Eric Carmen, left, with Raspberries--polyester and helmet hair.
Carmen had been something of a musical prodigy back home in Ohio and studied classical music at John Carroll University while playing guitar, piano and singing with local rock bands. One of those bands morphed into Raspberries, an early power pop band in 1970. Carmen fronted the group and wrote its music. They recorded four albums and scored hits including Go All the Way, I Wanna Be With You, and Overnight Sensation (Hit Record).
All By Myself 45 rpm single sleeve.
In 1975 the band broke up and Carmen launched a solo career jettisoning the harder edges of the Raspberries for a mellower sound that in many ways presaged later Emo music. All By Myself was the first single of his debut album and went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Like another hit from the album—Never Gonna Fall in Love Again (not to be confused with I’ll Never Fall in Love Again by Burt Bacharach and Hal David) the melody was derived from themes by Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Carmen released four more studio solo albums over the balance of the ’70, each one falling off sales of its predecessor and singles not getting above mid-range on the Hot 100. By the final album, no song even made the chart.
A swingin', studly persona was essential for FM radio success.
Carmen pretty much gave up recording by the ‘80’s although he continued to write successfully for other artists and his songs were used in several films including Footloose and Dirty Dancing.
These days All By Myself is better remembered than the man who made it.
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